After years of insulation from the worst of the violent crime that has plagued the country, Mexico City has seen homicides rise 45 percent since 2014, presenting a major challenge to the government of incoming Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum.
Using thousands of police reports from 2009 to 2016, think tank Mexico Evalua found that the growth in homicides has been largely concentrated in areas that have long been dangerous, rather than a general dispersion across the city.
The areas of Gustavo A. Madero, Cuauhtemoc, and Venustiano Carranza are by far the deadliest, the report found. Despite having less than one-quarter of the city’s population, they account for 37 percent of homicides.
Mexico City’s police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Particularly worrying was Tepito, a notorious area of Cuauhtemoc known as the “barrio bravo,” which had the highest homicide rate of any part of the city. It is home to La Union gang, who police say are behind a spurt in drug-dealing and protection rackets.
Earlier this month, gunmen dressed as mariachis killed five people in tourist hotspot Plaza Garibaldi, which is on the edge of Tepito.
Although overall still well below the national average, and comparable to some U.S. cities, the violence in Mexico City is getting worse, with almost 90 percent of residents reporting feeling unsafe, according to a recent survey by national statistics body INEGI.
Of the 6,418 police reports the city government shared with Mexico Evalua, more than a quarter were unusable, partly because they were wrongly classified, contained misinformation or were incomplete, the think tank said.
Ramirez said he hoped the next government would improve police data and implement prevention programs.